Would you edit RAW if you could? - Day 11 of Editing Bite

REDCINE-X Pro transcode ProRes proxy files for offline edit

Just the other day I was having a discussion with someone about online vs offline editing and which one we tend to do.

My editor friend was saying that he almost always goes for an offline workflow because of the obvious advantages (less processing required, smaller file sizes to deal with, etc.) plus saying there rarely is an actual NEED to edit with raw footage.

I tend to play devil's advocate a lot (that is, I like to argue and debate to make good conversation) so my argument was that if you COULD edit raw, then why wouldn't you? Less steps in the workflow, no need to create proxy files, no conform required in the end. Go straight to colour and vfx. Do not pass go.

Now that the debate is over and done with, I feel I have to be honest and admit that I've only edited straight through a project with raw footage once. Just once. And it was not all that it was cracked up to be.

So yes, even in a time when computers are beefier than ever (and increasing beefiness at breakneck speed each year) you CAN edit raw and do without creating proxy files...but to quote Chris Rock: "You CAN drive your car with your feet if you really wanted to, but it don't make it a good idea!"

Spending the extra time to transcode footage to ProRes is what we're all about when editing on location for Bite. See that screencap above showing the export queue in REDCINE-X? Yeah, that never ends. We aren't working with a REDRocket Card here so there's a computer running almost around the clock to squish the raw files down in to sizeable chunks that I can edit with.

Via a Videomaker.com article on the process of offline editing (http://bit.ly/1w6giIs)

Via a Videomaker.com article on the process of offline editing (http://bit.ly/1w6giIs)

And let's say I had an assistant editor working on this project. Would it be realistic for both of us to have copies of the raw footage here on set? And say that we could be turning scenes around next day for the director to watch and get giddy over? No. Freaking. Way.

Or if once we wrapped the director wanted to grab a copy of the project file and its assets so that he could look through the edit himself (which he does like to do)? That would mean another copy of the raw files that he would need as well as a pumped-up computer to work on.

So yes, I do have to admit that the extra steps for an offline workflow do make life easier in the long run.

I was inspired to write this today after also coming across this article on Videomaker about the offline process (http://bit.ly/1w6giIs).

Feeling The Thrill of the Edit - Day 3 of Antisocial 2

An avalanche of footage landed on my desk in the form of a hard drive containing the last two days of filming. All of that prep work has paid itself off. Immediately I felt the thrill of the edit session as I finally gazed upon what the crew has been capturing so far for Antisocial 2.

First step was transcoding the footage through REDCine-X. As much as I will always have a soft spot for Final Cut, my first editing love, the tedious extra step of transcoding footage before anything will forever leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

Transcoding is an often necessary step at the start of post-production where the raw footage from the cameras is processed into a smaller package. This is done so that the computer doesn't have to work so hard to handle the LARGE video files while editing, therefore allowing the editor to work faster. However it sucks having to wait for it to finish. 

Even with the beastly RED Rocket Card equipped, it took 8 hours to transcode all of the clips to ProRes LT. 


Meanwhile the gents and I took a break and shared some stories from the day. After all, 1am may be the start of my work day but it is the end of theirs. One of the benefits I enjoy most about editing on-site is that I actually feel more like part of the crew. Since I've been away from set this whole time, this is a part of the day I look forward to a lot.

DMT, Producer, Editor and Sound for Antisocial 2.
DMT, Producer, Editor and Sound for Antisocial 2.

But there is still MUCH work to be done and it's time to punch it into overdrive to catch up. Start a pot of coffee and slap the headphones on. Before waiting for every clip to finish transcoding, there is still work I can do in the meantime. I take the clips from both cameras and lay them on a timeline labelled SYNC. This is where I sync up the audio. "But Nick, can't you use PluralEyes to sync up the audio automatically?" I hate PluralEyes. Always have. Always will. We've never gotten along, although I understand it works well for some editors out there. All the power to ya!

My days of editing broadcast videos for OMAFRA on an AVID machine has gotten me very comfortable using the keyboard hotkeys to quickly navigate through an NLE. Ever since those days, syncing up audio in FCP has been a breeze. It may sound funny but I kind of enjoy doing it. It's a very satisfying task for me. And with my fingers flying across the keyboard, it's the closest thing to playing piano that I'll ever get.

Plus it forces me to watch a bit of each clip, which is what an editor should do first and foremost anyways. There isn't always a shotlist with notes on each take for the editor to use (there isn't one on this production anyways) so watching through the footage is important to see all that was captured. Get familiar with each take because that's how you sort them into golden takes, scraps and bloopers.


The clock reads 9:30am. Transcoding has finished, all clips have been synced to audio, and the first scene is roughly edited. Time to say good night, high five the crew as they wake up and head to set, and grab some shut-eye. Not a bad start so far.